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PowerUp Reentry Hosts Hackathon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– When you think of hackathons, weekend long binge fests for coders and engineers may come to mind — but not this time, the Reentry Project is hosting its first local hackathon.

PowerUp Reentry aims to solve some of the challenges faced by returning citizens.

“The great thing about hackathons that are more focused on social and civil issues is that they’re not competitive,” said Operations Manager Dawn McDougle.

Code for Philly is producing the event– Dawn McDougle is the Operations Manager.

“It’s more about the collaboration. So people will definitely be going home to sleep and there will be lots of collaboration between people who are engineers and actually writing the code, but also people who are direct subject matter experts, people who have a deep and intimate knowledge of reentry itself,” said McDougle.

One in six Philadelphians has been incarcerated and two-thirds of them will be sent back to prison, with innovations to help with things like housing and job placement. McDougle says reintegration can be more successful.

“Hackathons may have the idea of engineers being the main participants but the reality is that it takes a lot of insight and perspective, and skill sets to make a project successful and a project that will deliver something that people actually want to use and meets a need. So anyone who is passionate about making a change in reentry, it could be a technologist, a journalist, someone with lived experience, a service provider, or a friend and family member or someone who’s just interested and wants to get involved,” said McDougle.

Digital solutions day takes place Oct. 20 and 21. If you would like to register for the event, you can do so at this site.

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